Chris Hemsworth might be loving his winged superhero avatar, but he’s taken a break and shot for 12 Strong, a story based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11. To showcase the most truthful representation, the filmmakers have roped in helicopters, pilots and crews, supplied by the Army’s legendary 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) Airborne “Night Stalkers.”!
The “Night Stalkers” are experts at flying Special Operations forces into combat and are experts in flying missions ranging from direct action air assault to fast-rope insertion, overwater helocasting, extraction, and special boat support, as well as urban assault.
The powerful Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters were brought on board, kicking up veritable tornados of dust and dirt, providing a dramatic effect for the cameras.
“Realism is extremely important, especially when you are endeavoring to tell a true story,” says director Nicolai Fuglsig.
And the crew took the realism part a bit too much to heart. According to people associated with the film,when one makes a movie, accuracy is key to make it look factual, especially when you are adapting real life to reel life. And one film that has made that extra effort and gone that extra mile is 12 Strong. Based on the best-selling book Horse Soldiers, the film talks about the heroism that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11. To bring the look of these men on mission alive, the cast, including Chris Hemsworth, didn’t wash their uniforms throughout the shoot!
Dan Lester, the head of the Costume Department, engaged in extensive research on the uniforms worn by the Green Berets in 2001. He also revealed how he had an ex-Special Officer in his team, which aided them to dig out in-depth material about Special Force uniforms and how within few weeks of research the entire team, had a depiction of basic uniform for the force.
As the mission in the movie proceeded, the costumes would consistently gather more and more dust and stain which made it look more genuine. “We had an aging department, but in general,” Lester notes, “You just never wash the clothes and they work so much better because they’ve actually lived in them. We also had the actors wear their uniforms through boot camp to get them used to the weight of them and get that natural wear.”
Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of the film, states, “We were fortunate to work with the Night Stalkers on ‘Black Hawk Down.’ They are the cream of the crop, the very best helicopter pilots in the service. They had just come back from deployment, so we were lucky the timing was right and we were able to get them.”
On flying the MH-47 Chinook for the film, real-life Night Stalker Jeff Gladden says, “The flying scenes that we’re doing here are exactly as they would have been done in Afghanistan. And these are the exact kind of aircraft that flew the men to their mission.”